Juanita Johnson-Bailey is often described as “dynamic,” “passionate” and “amazing.” These sentiments are expressed not only by her students, past and present, but also fellow faculty members.
So it was hardly a surprise that Johnson-Bailey, a professor in the College of Education’s department of lifelong education, administration and policy and interim director of the Institute for Women’s Studies, was inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame in 2009.
Three student organizations, the UGA Lifelong Learning Association, the Students of African Descent and the Asian Student Association, representing hundreds of students, wrote letters of support, citing Johnson-Bailey’s dedication and ability to inspire students.
The students consistently spoke about how Johnson-Bailey has inspired their efforts and offered them practical strategies to improve instruction.
Christa Hofacre, a former student of Johnson-Bailey’s, describes how meeting her on a South African study-abroad tour influenced her life: “ to say that spending three weeks with Dr. Johnson-Bailey changed my life path and perspective is an understatement. Her dedication to her students’ achievement, both in and out of the classroom, is a rare quality that when combined with her impressive academic achievements in the field of adult education truly make her an invaluable asset to the University of Georgia.”
Johnson-Bailey was a first-generation college student. Her mother stressed the importance of education, but the professor initially resisted her call into education because she didn’t want to be limited to the stereotypical women’s careers of teaching and nursing. She later realized that teaching is what she now calls “the best job in the world.”
In her career at UGA, Johnson-Bailey has taught 17 different graduate-level courses and four different undergraduate courses. She has served as major professor for 22 students who earned their doctorates and as a committee member for 70 additional doctoral graduates in adult education and 11 other departments across the university.
Johnson-Bailey’s dedication to students in and out of the classroom is reflected in her many awards and recognitions. She was inducted into the UGA Teaching Academy in 2006 and received the Graduate School’s Outstanding Mentoring Award. She was named Carl Glickman Faculty Fellow in the College of Education in 2003 and received the Lilly Teaching Fellowship from UGA in 2002 for outstanding instructional achievement. Her 2001 book, Sistahs in College: Making a Way Out of No Way, received the Frandson Award for Outstanding Literature from the University Continuing Education Association.
In 2006, Johnson-Bailey co-created and convened the university’s first conference on black issues in higher education with the permanent themes of teaching strategies and research agendas.